Flesh of My Flesh | Genesis 2:19-25
Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:19-25 | ESV
You can think of Genesis 2 as the birthplace of the classic proverb, “Two are better than one.” I love the fact that Man needs help in figuring this out (and we think we’ve so changed!). I love the fact that as the ultimate game warden, a real life Dr. Doolittle, Man has the massive project – the adventure of a lifetime! Who knows how many eons this took! – To name all the beasts of the field and animals of the forest. Biologist. Taxonomist. Birder. This was Man’s first profession. And in experiencing the animal kingdom he can’t help put notice the pairing, the partnering, the mating, and the lack of his own equal, his own mate. I love that male and female were not both simultaneously formed from separate piles of dirt. I love the fact that the answer to Man’s dilemma of isolation and apartness was quite literally inside him the whole time. We commonly repeat the rabbinic lesson in our wedding ceremonies: Woman was formed not from Man’s head lest she should try to dominate him, nor from his foot lest he should try to dominate her, nor, we might add, from his nether regions lest she should simply be the object of his lust; but from his side that they would be near each other’s heart, “fellow heirs of God’s gracious gift of life.” The Genesis 2 tale is so DNA setting for us. We so often miss how revolutionary this text was for the ancient audience who read it – and how truly revolutionary it is and needs to be for us today. Man and Woman stand together on equal footing, formed of shared matter, as royal stewards entrusted with caring for the royal garden of all gardens. Here are no slaves, no mere servants or field hands, either to a domineering God or to each other. They are viceroys. Made a little lower than Elohim, the Hebrew of Psalm 8 says. Crowned with glory and honor. Overseers of divine work. Everything under their feet. Now imagine this dignity-endowing story being told by and to those who once were slaves in Egypt. Now imagine it being told to you, about you. How differently we might look at ourselves and our world if we truly allowed this Story DNA to seep into our bones…
Read and reflect on Psalm 8. Does this Psalm describe the dignity you feel as a human being? What are the obstacles and hindrances to seeing ourselves through the corrective lenses of Genesis 2 and Psalm 8?
Lord, rescue me from a debilitating self-pity that masquerades as pious humility but that actually just tears down the dignity which you bestow upon us as divine image bearers. Let me remember who I am.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.